So What Can We Do?
|California Has An "A" Rating|
From the Giffords Gun Control Group
The Golden State has an "A" rating from the Giffords Law Center. California has every gun law the constitution possibly allows - and no, the murderer did not bypass any of them to buy his gun. Here is a list and I likely have missed some, because there really are that many.
1) Universal Background Checks (state and federal)
2) 10 day Waiting Period
3) Red Flag Law (firearms restraining order)
4) Expanded list of people prohibited from owning firearms (both mental health and criminal)
5) Firearms Registration
6) State Firearms Confiscation Unit (to insure that people who become prohibited dispose of their guns)
7) "Saturday Night Special" Ban (only handguns approved by the state can be sold)
8) 10 Round Magazine Restriction (sales have been illegal since 2000 - the court case and restraining order only apply to previously purchased magazines)
9) Gun Buyers Must Pass A Safety Test
10) Buyers must provide at least two proofs of address and identity and provide a thumb print
11) Assault Weapons Ban
12) Restrictive Concealed Carry Law
13) Strict Controls on Transportation of Firearms
Please take a long look at that list - and consider that these are the very laws that gun control advocates want to enact nationwide. These are the laws they say will stop mass shootings. Yet, this murder was able to buy and retain his semi-auto handgun. He was also able to illegally obtain an illegal magazine. That said, as a trained Marine with combat experience he knew how to change magazines rapidly (under one second) and witnesses report that he was able to do just that. Even if he had only had restricted, California legal magazines, it would have made little, if any, difference.
He did not buy his gun on the street, or in a neighboring state with "lax laws". He bought his gun in California - LEGALLY. The lesson should be clear: GUN LAWS THAT REACH OR PERHAPS EVEN EXCEED CONSTITUTIONAL LIMITS DO NOT STOP MASS SHOOTERS.
Of course, gun control advocates will argue that we simply need to go further. We need to ban handguns - because, of course, banning drugs has worked so well. However, they know one thing that they will not tell you: In order to go further, there is absolutely no question that the 2nd Amendment would have to be repealed or it self amended. In order to do this you would not only need the approval of 2/3 of both Houses of Congress, it would then have to be ratified by 3/4 of the states - meaning only 13 states can prevent a repeal. ANYONE WHO BELIEVES THAT THE 2ND AMENDMENT CAN BE REPEALED EITHER CANNOT COUNT OR IS DELUSIONAL.
So What Can Be Done?
|Support From Better Mental Health|
Screening far Exceeds That For Radical
Gun Control - So Why Don't We Do It?
Guns are but one way that mass murder can be committed. We have recently seen vehicles used as weapons in both the US and Europe - with death tolls exceeding that in the worst US mass shooting. However, they do not even need to use the vehicle - gasoline could be even more effective as a mass murder tool. Anyone with internet access can learn how to build a bomb. These are just a few of the ways that mass murder can be committed - a few of many potential weapons that can be used.
HOWEVER, THE REAL WEAPON IS THE HUMAN MIND. Without a human being deciding to commit mass murder, none of these things would kill people. If we are to stop these horrible incidents, we must focus our efforts on the potential murderer - not on the weapon they may use.
So, how can this be done?
First, we must do a better job of recognizing the small number of mentally ill people who are dangerous, compelling them to be evaluated and getting them treatment. As in most cases, we are now learning that the murderer in this case displayed multiple "red flags" that should have resulted in a temporary mental health commitment. The Giffords shooter had over 20 law enforcement contacts for bizarre and troubling behavior prior to his committing mass murder. He was even expelled from a local junior college as a result. Yet, not once was he sent in from mental health evaluation. The Navy Yard shooter was the subject of a call to law enforcement for disturbing behavior only days before the shooting. Law enforcement did nothing. When the parents of the Santa Barbara mass murderer (who killed more people with knives and his car than with his guns) reported that he had posted extremely troubling videos, the investigating officers did not view the videos before deciding that he was not a threat - and again, not compelling him to be evaluated. In this most recent case of mass murder, there were not only red flags that were never reported to authorities - when law enforcement was called to a disturbance at his home, they called a mental health team to the scene and this team decided he was not dangerous!
It should also be noted that had this individual been committed, even for a 72 hour evaluation, he would have been prohibited from owning or possessing firearms. Therefore, gun control advocates should be concerned about this. Gun laws do not exist in a vacuum - they depend upon other laws that simply are not being used.
In most states we already have the needed laws to require people to be evaluated - they are simply not being used in way too many cases. I do not have all the answers, but it doesn't take a mental health expert to see that the following steps are needed.
1) Law enforcement needs much more mental health training.
2) More and better mental health evaluation facilities are needed.
3) More and better long term treatment facilities must be established.
This will cost more than passing yet another useless gun law - but if we want to reduce the death toll, it must be done.
Finally, we must stop leaving people defenseless. More citizens must become qualified to carry weapons. We must end gun free zones that do nothing but ensure that these mass murderers will have several minutes before facing effective opposition. I have looked at every case where armed citizens are present and intervened. In every one of these cases, the shooter was stopped or causalities were obviously decreased. When survivors call for gun control, they are experts - but when they complain that they might have been able to save lives had they been armed, they are largely ignored.
We also need to encourage more police officers to carry firearms when off duty. We now know that six off duty cops were at the bar that night. None were armed. Yes, those who were drinking should not have been armed, but one was likely the designated driver. Had he or she been armed, things might have been very different.
Nothing will stop all of these mass murders - but more gun laws will not help. We need to look at other solutions. This California shooting proves that.